Microsoft demos new sweet picture password feature on Windows 8

Picture password - Windows 8

Microsoft improves the experience in which users are able to sign-in to Windows 8 with gesture based picture password.

In a new post from the Building Windows 8 blog, the software make demo a new method that shorten the sign in time from 17 seconds in average typing a password in a keyboard to just a few seconds with pictures password, and allows users to sign in to Windows 8 in a fast and fluid way in tablets, other touch enabled devices and in PC’s as well by sketching three different patterns over an image.

This is how secure pictures password on Windows 8 is: this new method has two parts. First you get to pick the image from your collection — this increases security and memorability of the password — and second a set of gestures that you draw upon it, that you get to decide.

At its core, the picture password feature is designed to highlight the parts of an image that are important to you, and it requires a set of gestures that allow you to accomplish this quickly and confidently. — Microsoft employee Zach said.

Another layer of security comes with directionality, when you draw the gestures on the selected image that will constitute your password, Windows will record how you drew it. This will prevent the slightly and remote chance if someone tries to reproduce your picture password. Not only this person (the attacker) will need to know the circles and lines, but also the attacker needs to know the direction and start and end points for the circles and lines you drew making it very difficult for someone else to break your password.

Microsoft also researched the use of freedom gestures took longer time to sign in. But they figured out that using a limited set of gestures (3) is a lot faster, more than three times and easier to remember.

To be clear, picture password is provided as a login mechanism in addition to your text password, not as a replacement for it. You should be sure to have a good hint and use safeguarding mechanisms for your text password, which you can still always use to sign in[…] — Zach also said.

The company also addressed the concerns over smudges that can be visible on a touch device that could potentially reveal a PIN based or picture password. In test conducted by the software maker on a touch screen with visible smudging. The amount of ways for ordering a PIN password of 4 digits is 24, and it doubles to 48 combinations when the password is based on gestures.

Even though Microsoft is showing that picture password is robust, the company will also give the freedom to home users and businesses to use this method as an extra option and it is not a requirement. 

Watch this demo video:

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.